When I was sick over the summer months, writing was a welcome distraction. When I got sick again at the end of the term, it became obvious that the pace associated with writing as a distraction and the pressure of multiple deadlines was part of the problem.
I’ve decided to follow the advice of the wayfinding app, Waze and recalibrate.
I’ve used recalibration as the rationale to break into the stack of reading that I had been saving for the holidays. This past weekend, I devoured Emilie Pine’s Notes to Self, which won Newcomer of the Year at the 2018 An Post Irish Book Awards. With an actual book in my hands, my bookmark was a handwritten note of thanks for my order from the two women who founded Tramp Press. And who don’t publish manuscripts sent to them addressed ‘Dear Sirs.’
I’m well into Sally Rooney’s Conversation with Friends. By the time I finally got around to cracking the spine, Rooney’s gone and published another novel, Normal People, which was nominated for Book of the Year, also at the 2018 An Post Irish Book Awards.
Next on the stack is Irish Senator, Lynn Ruane’s People Like Me, the An Post Irish Book Awards winner in the non-fiction category. Lynn Ruane was the respondent for a keynote address I gave in Dublin last winter. She’s quick witted, forthright, and kind, and I’m planning to lose an entire weekend to her newly published memoir. Many of those who have read it did so in a single sitting, and I’m planning to do the same.
Ida Milne’s Stacking the Coffins makes the cut too. It’s a story of illness, war and revolution in Ireland. It will be the only influenza welcomed into my home over the holiday. The stack includes Sinéad Gleeson’s anthology, The Long Gaze Back, for that rare occasion (I hope) when I don’t have the entire weekend to spend with a book. I started working my way through it months ago. Yes, months. So far, I’ve read four stories. Yes, four.
I’m optimistic that I’ll finish reading the copy of the Irish Literary Supplement that I’ve been moving around, from room to room, in the house. Since October.
If humour is the best medicine, then there’s fiction, too, in the form of Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen’s The Importance of Being Aisling. Their previous book, Oh My G-d What a Complete Aisling left me in stitches. I was never a follower or a fan of their Facebook page, but I am of their novels.
Anna Burn’s book, Milkman is on my list too. If Canada Post delivers it.
There’s a theme that threads through my stack of books: it’s a literary escape to the island destination to where WestJet has recently cancelled their direct flight from St. John’s, Newfoundland.
If they can recalibrate their plans on a whim, then I can do the same.